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Ontario test-drives new brand of democracy

Citizens who are dissatisfied with Ontario’s electoral system will have their say this fall. Inspired by British Columbia’s experiment in 2004, Ontario followed suit in 2006 by convening a Citizens’ Assembly for the first time in its history. After months of deliberation, the Assembly recently announced its decision to recommend a new mixed-member proportional system for Ontario.

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July 10, 2007Steve Baron of Better Democracy NZ writes: New Zealand went through the MMP process a number of years ago and I was a strong campaigner for it at the time. MMP seemed to be a more fair system and many of us believed it would give us more control over our politicians. It is true that Parliament now represents a more diverse group, however the downside is that too many deals are now done under the table to gain power and it is still very much a two party system.

There is also a huge frustration that many an MP rejected by their electorate gets back into Parliament through the backdoor on the party List.

Although MMP has been an improvement, many New Zealanders believe that we will not have real democracy until we have Binding Citizens Initiated Referendums and the Recall like Switzerland. Until then it is still very much one day of democracy and three years of an elected dictatorship, even under MMP.

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